Joost Hiltermann Profile picture
MENA Program Director @crisisgroup. Conflict prevention, human rights, good food, Belgian beer. MIT Fellow. Author of A Poisonous Affair
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Oct 10, 2023 9 tweets 2 min read
Operation Al-Aqsa Deluge of Hamas is unprecedented, revealing a colossal intelligence failure. Israel appears to be preparing for a ground invasion to free hostages, cut Hamas down to size or even remove it from power.

A thread explaining where the fighting may be headed: 1/9 2/ The scale and coordinated nature of the assault imply long-term planning by Hamas, yet those plans remained undetected by Israel’s reputedly pervasive intelligence apparatus in the occupied territories.
Oct 4, 2023 15 tweets 4 min read
As @CrisisGroup's head of MENA, I have a pretty good understanding of what we publish, how we conduct research and how our findings are received, including on the Iran file.

This @nytopinion piece by Bret Stephens is shamefully inaccurate: 1/ Image 2/ My colleague @AliVaez has been smeared for one line mentioned in the piece - the only line actually translated - in a much longer email from 2014 about our @CrisisGroup work to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Let me set the record straight:
Feb 20, 2020 6 tweets 5 min read
1/In #Idlib recently, Abu Muhammad al-Jolani spoke with @CrisisGroup about how his group, Hei'at Tahrir al-Sham #HTS, is adjusting to the changing realities on the ground in the face of a #Syrian regime offensive and an intensifying humanitarian crisis. 2/Jolani claims that #HTS has forsworn transnational jihadist ambitions and is readying itself to focus on governing territory under its control. And he told @CrisisGroup: "We are under no illusion that we can govern Idlib on our own."
Aug 3, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
#Tunisia is going through a crisis sparked chiefly by a dispute between political forces about whether the prime minister, Youssef Chahed, should resign and by a struggle for control of Nida Tounes, one of the two main parties in the governing coalition. The crisis has paralysed the government and parliament, divided and discredited the political class and undermined public confidence in the country’s institutions.
Jul 31, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
1) "How to Cope with Iraq’s Summer Brushfire": Hot off the press from @CrisisGroup, our quick take on #Iraq's protests, and what the government should do, not just to calm things down, but to institute overdue reforms: .../2 2) Popular protests, spawned by anger at the state’s inability to deliver essential services, have spread throughout southern Iraq and reached the capital, Baghdad. They are an annual occurrence but this year they are larger and more intense..../3
Jul 30, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
1) We @CrisisGroup are publishing a new report today about #Iraq's paramilitary groups, the #Hashd al-Shaabi, and the challenge they pose to the rebuilding of the state. .../2 2) Iraq’s 3-year battle against ISIS empowered the Hashd, which operate autonomously from state security forces. As Iraq's focus on security decreases, the Hashd, are moving into economic activities and politics; some of their leaders gained seats..../3
Jun 21, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
In the latest @CrisisGroup report, issued today, we highlight the dangerous situation brewing in southern #Syria: "Keeping the Calm in Southern Syria". What's new, why does it matter, and what should be done? Thread. Having retaken the last rebel-held areas in Syria’s western interior, the regime is turning south. Its forces are massing in preparation for a reconquest of the “de-escalation” zone in the southwest, which is protected by a trilateral agreement between Russia, the US and Jordan.
May 12, 2018 12 tweets 6 min read
1/ In the wake of the @nytimes piece on today's #Iraq,, here is my bird's eye view of the #IraqElections2018 in the context of the standoff between #Iran and the US in the region..../2 2/ As I have stated most recently in @ForeignPolicy here,, Iraq has seen a convergence of Iranian and US interests since 2003. This has led to a degree of mutual accommodation, despite the fact that each has wanted to get rid of the other's presence....3/
May 10, 2018 11 tweets 6 min read
Some quick thoughts: It looks like #Israel initiated military activity against Syrian regime and Iranian assets in Syria last night in order to take advantage of favorable political situation in aftermath of #Trump's withdrawal from #IranDeal, and also... /2 /2 to draw a red line against #Iran/#Hezbollah moves southward toward #GolanHeights now that regime has completed takeover of most Damascus suburbs, freeing up forces. Yet the Iranians don't seem to be responding, Israeli claims to the contrary - .../3